Absa Premiership preview: Free State Stars v Chippa United

Free State Stars can take a massive step towards Absa Premiership survival if they manage to secure all three points against Chippa United on Saturday evening.

Ea Lla Koto currently find themselves in a spot of bother, second from last in the table after a run of four defeats in their last five matches.

A 2-1 win over bottom-of-the-log Maritzburg United last month provided them with a much-needed boost, however, and another victory over Chippa would be just what the doctor ordered.

Counting in their favour is the fact that the Chilli Boys have only managed to collect five points out of a possible 30 in their 10 away matches so far this season, and are themselves fighting for survival in the league.

Coach Nikola Kavazovic and his side will also be eager to prove that they are a far better side than the 5-0 scoreline against Cape Town City in their last Absa Premiership match suggests.

“I told my players, they lost 2-0 and I lost 5-0,” Kavazovic said after the heavy away defeat.

“Trust me, if I wanted to protect 2-0, the game would not finish with that big score.

“I don’t have any objections with my players. It’s my responsibility that we lost this game. We are playing well and playing great football.

“I am not worried about it or ashamed of the result. I can assure you my players did not lose one percentage of self-confidence. I can promise we will come back much stronger and maybe this defeat will be good for them to keep them grounded.”

In 13 matches played between Free State Stars and Chippa United, Ea Lla Koto have managed six wins and two draws, while losing just five.

One of those defeats came last time they met at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in early October 2018 when Chippa won 1-0, but the visitors should find their task much tougher at Goble Park Stadium on Saturday.

Stars will be hoping their top scorer this season, Harris Tchilimbou, will once again come up with the goods, while Kavazovic will be delighted to welcome back Paulus Masehe from suspension, after he was forced to sit out the big loss against Cape Town City.

The only player still missing for Stars is Sibusiso Hlubi, who is serving out a red card suspension.

Match details

Free State Stars v Chippa United

Date: Saturday, 9 February

Kick-off: 18:00

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